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Announcements

2013

The Catskills and the Holocaust: Winners Announced for Fiction and Non-fiction Writing Contests

The Catskills Institute and the Jewish Studies Program at Loyola Marymount University are delighted to announce the winners of the fiction and non-fiction writing contests: “The Catskills and the Holocaust.”

Bonnie Shusterman Eizikovitz is co-winner of the fiction contest for he story "Catskills Dreams and Pumpernickel," about a girl nicknamed Pumpernickel by a woman bungalow colony resident, a Holocaust survivor who is a parent figure for the youngster.

Rita Calderon is the other fiction co-winner for "Waiting for Dovid," a short story centered in 1938 on a girl and her family’s effort to bring her father’s brother to the Catskills hotel where her mother is the chef.

Michael Kirschenbaum won the non-fiction contest for “Forgiving God in the Catskills,” a chapter from his forthcoming memoir tentatively titled: A Jewish Chicken Farmer’s Son.

All three winners have done beautiful jobs at giving us a glimpse of the Holocaust experience of people in the Catskills and we hope a wide audience will read these writings in order to expand the overall awareness of this critical place and time. You can read them here, on the website of the Catskills Institute or the Jewish Studies Program at Loyola Marymount University.

The contest is sponsored by the Catskills Institute, the Jewish Studies Program at Loyola Marymount University, Jewish Book Council, the “1939” Club, the Sigi Ziering Institute at American Jewish University, Brown University Judaic Studies Program, the Jewish American and Holocaust Literature Symposium, AskAbigail.com, and the Four Seasons Lodge film group. The contests are part of a book project, Summer Haven: How the Catskills Experienced the Holocaust, edited by Dr. Holli Levitsky, Professor of English and Director of Jewish Studies at Loyola Marymount University, and Dr. Phil Brown, President of the Catskills Institute and Professor of Sociology and Health Sciences at Northeastern University.

View full announcement.

2012

Fiction and Non-fiction Writing Contests: The Catskills and the Holocaust.

These two contests are part of a book project, Summer Haven: How the Catskills Experienced the Holocaust, edited by Dr. Holli Levitsky, Professor of English and Director of Jewish Studies at Loyola Marymount University, and Dr. Phil Brown, Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies at Brown University, which will provide a locus for literature exploring the experience of the Holocaust in the Catskills.

The contest is sponsored by the Catskills Institute, Jewish Book Council, the “1939” Club, the Sigi Ziering Institute at American Jewish University, Brown University Judaic Studies Program, the Jewish Studies Program at Loyola Marymount University, the Jewish American and Holocaust Literature Symposium, AskAbigail.com, and the Four Seasons Lodge film group.

Submissions are due July 1, 2012. The contest will be judged by a panel of eminent writers in the field of Jewish literature and scholarship. On Sept.1, the judges’ decision will be announced. The winners will receive $500 and up to $500 in travel costs to present the winning entries at the Jewish American and Holocaust Literature Symposium in Miami, Florida November 11-13, 2012. The winning entries will also be published in the Levitsky and Brown book.

See Fiction and Non-Fiction Guidelines for further details.

"Welcome to Kutsher's: The Last Catskills Resort"

"Welcome to Kutsher's: The Last Catskills Resort" a documentary about the Catskills experience by Caroline Laskow and Ian Rosenberg will have its world premiere as the Closing Night film of the New York Jewish Film Festival on January 26, 2012. Tickets for the screenings have already sold out, but you can find out more about the film at their Facebook page, on their website, and watch the trailer on youtube.

To get on the email list for updates on upcoming screenings (next up, the Miami Jewish Film Festival on January 29, 2012) and future DVD release dates, please email kutshersdoc@gmail.com.

Laskow and Rosenberg also were recently invited to write an Op-Ed on "Why the Catskills Experience Matters" for NYC public television's website MetroFocus.

2011

Catskill Musical Memories show

The Yiddish Artists & Friends-Actors Club presents “Catskill Musical Memories: A Yiddish Klezmer Musical Comedy Salute to ‘The Mountains’ ” Starring Joanne Engel with Special Guest Emcee Fyvush Finkel. Accompanied by the Howard Leshaw Klezmer Orchestra.

Monday June 20 9 pm Sutton Place Synagogue, 225 E. 51 St. New York City. All tickets $25. For information and group sales, call Ruth Harris 516-569-1678 or email yafac18@aol.com.

Great new website for Sha-wan-ga Lodge

The Dan family, past owners of Sha-wan-ga Lodge, have a wonderful website with hundreds of images, providing a look at the many facets of hotel life. Materials go back to the 1920s and all the way till the hotel stopped operating in the 1980s. http://shawanga.com/shawanga/

2010

Welcome to Our New Site

Welcome to the new Catskills Institute website. We are very grateful to Brown University for its wonderful support through the Scholarly Technology Group and the Center for Digital Scholarship. Elli Mylonas, Ann Caldwell, Robin Ness, and Kerri Hicks spent countless hours developing this new archive and its website. Thousands of items from the Catskills Institute Archives have been scanned in at high resolution, and accompanying metadata provides much useful background information. You can now search for all sort of materials by hotel or bungalow colony name, by type of object (e.g. menu, postcard, stationery), or by thumbnail. We are proud to now feature a whole section devoted to the beautiful postcard artistry of Alfred Landis. The bulletin board has an automatic posting mechanism for your queries. Please spend some time and enjoy this new archive/website that preserves the glorious legacy of the Jewish Catskills.

Catskills Bungalow Heritage Museum

Meeting on Sunday, June 13th. 11 AM, Mountaindale Firehouse, 136 Main Street, Mountaindale, NY 12763

We invite all interested individuals to attend a meeting to discuss the creation of a Catskills Bungalow Heritage Museum. The purpose of the proposed museum is the preservation of the heritage and history of bungalow colonies in the Catskills. The meeting will discuss the following topics:

  • Physical acquisition and restoration of at least 3 original period bungalows.
  • Presentation of furniture, objects, photographs and ephemera from era.
  • Preservation of the history of tenants and tourists of the bungalow colonies
  • Collection of oral histories of former owners and service businesses for the bungalow colonies.

Contact: Raymon Elozua - raymon@elozua.com - 212-60-1239

2009

Kutsher's Documentary

Ian Rosenberg & Carol Laskow's documentary about Kutsher's Country Club, on the occasion of its 100th anniversary, is in post-production. They are still seeking photos and videos. For more information, see their site.

2008

Growing Up At Grossinger's (March, 2008)

Tania Grossinger's book Growing Up at Grossinger's will be re-released in publication shortly. Check out the latest interview with the author.

Funny Boys (March, 2008)

A new book by Warren Adler (Random Hearts, The War of the Roses) on Catskills' gangsters.

Middletown Railroad Day (July, 2008)

Sunday, July 27, 2008, 10am-5pm at the Middletown Senior Center (62-70 West Main St., Middletown, NY. For more info, click here

Catskills Cooking

New essay on Catskills food by noted travel and food writer Janet Forman

2007

Catskills on Film (Oct. 2007)

On October 24th, 2007 at 7:00 pm, the Museum of Jewish Heritage is sponsoring Catskills on Film, a panel moderated by Phil Brown that will explore the depiction of the Catskills through cinema.

Documentary On Holocaust Survivor Bungalow Colony

Donna Schatz recently completed a documentary on a bungalow colony of Holocaust survivors in Ellenville. It was briefly reviewed in the February issue of Hadassah Magazine and has just been accepted for screening at the 5th JEWISH EYE - WORLD JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL in Ashkelon, Israel. For more information on the project, visit their website at www.99geigerroad.com.

Andrew Jacobs (dir.) and Matt Lavine (prod) are also working on a documentary about the same colony. We showed rushes from this at 2007 conference, and heard wonderful presentations by Jacobs and Four Seasons residents Carl Potok & Susan Ostrovitz. For more information, see www.fourseasonsmovie.org.

Kutsher's Documentary

Ian Rosenberg & Carol Laskow are working on a documentary about Kutsher's Country Club, on the occasion of its 100th anniversary.Their goal is to preserve on film this special place, which has outlasted so many other Catskills institutions, and to tell the story of its history and survival.; Please take note that they will generously donate materials to the Catskills Institute once they are finished, so your contributions get double credit. If you have Kutsher's related photos, home movies or memorabilia that you're willing to share, please contact them at ianrosenberg@yahoo.com.

Catskills Documentary In Progress

Joan Micklin Silver & Raphael Silver are working on a documentary tentatively titled "To the Mountains". They spoke at our recent conference on this excellent work-in-progress. We encourage people to assist them. Please take note that they will generously donate materials to the Catskills Institute once they are finished, so your contributions get double credit. In particular they are interested in memorabilia, photos, and especially home movies -- visual materials dealing with the Catskills past and present. Email them at jmscatskills@hotmail.com.

Special Project: Attention Women Hotel Owners

If you are a woman who owned a Catskills resort in the 1950s and 1960s, Rachel Kranson is eager to hear from you. Ms Kranson (PhD candidate, NYU) is working on a project documenting the experiences of female hotel owners. If you have any information, please contact rachel@honksandsirens.com

Bungalow Colony Stories Wanted

Documentary filmmakers are seeking charismatic individuals to talk on film about the following subjects:

  1. Women's weekday experiences at the bungalow colony and summer affairs of the heart
  2. Bungalow colony entertainers
  3. We are also seeking home movies and print photography of the Catskills and Bungalow Colony life.
  4. Roni Lieberman & Debra Kaplan Graci1973@aol.com

Catskills Films, LLC is seeking home movies and photos.

"When Comedy went to School: Those Catskills Comics" is a documentary focusing on the heyday of Catskills Comedy. We are looking for home movies and photos taken in the Catskills from 1930s-1970s with special emphasis on comics, social staff, dining rooms, hotel owners/mgmt. Please contact Michael Engel at michaelengel55@earthlink.net.